16Mar 2021

KOTLIN VS FLUTTER

Introduction

Have you considered building cool apps, or are you considering maybe learning a technology that allows you to build mobile applications?

Nowadays, People have lots of reasons why they prefer one language, technology, framework, or tool to another.

Factors people put into considerations can vary from efficiency, speed, ease-of-development, community, type of project or product to be developed, and so on.

However, many applications need to run on different platforms, iOS, Android, Web, Desktop. And most of the time, people find it difficult to choose solutions they could use to build based on all these factors.

To make these decisions, we need to ask questions like:

  • What framework or tools would best fit my project?
  • What kind of solutions can be easily adopted for this project?
  • How much flexibility do I get working with this tool?
  • How can I make my app user-friendly, responsive, and stable?
  • How easy is it to implement specific features for my project?
  • Can I find developers and professionals that can build this?

And for developers that wish to learn a new tech so they can earn more or just advance their career, ask :

  • How acceptable is this technology in the world of software developers?
  • What is the community like and do I have enough resources to learn?

In this article, we will be discussing some of the most important factors to consider when you have to choose between Kotlin and Flutter.

I would like to bring to your notice that comparing these two technologies is not a way to put one under because in the first place, one is a programming language, while the other is a framework.

But first things first, let us begin by giving a brief introduction of both technologies.

Getting Started

What is Flutter?

what-is-flutter

Flutter is a development framework built by Google and used for cross-platform development which means it can be used to build applications for macOS, Linux, Android, Windows, iOS, and even Fuchsia—all using a single code base.

The Dart programming language is the language behind flutter development.

Flutter gives you full control over the rendering stack. The framework is built without compromising on quality, speed, and performance.

Flutter was originally released to build Android, iOS, and web from a single codebase, but later introduced flutter for desktop and now flutter runs across 8 platforms and popularly referred to as flutter octopus/ octa-framework.

The major selling point of flutter is the beautiful UI interfaces that can be built and the hot-reload feature that allows a smooth and swift development process.

The most interesting being the strong native performances it allows in its supporting devices.

Flutter was first introduced in February 2018. And popular examples of apps built with flutter are Google Adwords, Xiaoyu, reflectly, and more.

Below we will be discussing more features that make flutter stand out and even take some time to note its cons as well.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is an open-sourced, statically typed, and general-purpose programming language that is used to build cross-platform applications.

Kotlin mainly targets Java Virtual Machines which compiles to JavaScript for front-end applications. Kotlin is designed to work with Java.

Kotlin was initially introduced to replace Java for building mobile applications. According to Statista.com made the list of the most used programming languages among developers in 2020”.

Kotlin as a standalone language provides excellent features over Java, but it also works well in conjunction with the older languages.

Kotlin was designed and developed by JetBrains—a Czech software development company. And was introduced in 2010 and popular apps built with flutter are CashApp, SuperAwesome, Space by JetBrains, and a lot more.

Flutter VS Kotlin: Let’s compare!

When we make an effort to better understand the differences between two technologies, it takes not just a couple of definitions and examples of solutions built with this tech.

It takes more of stating clearly and explaining important factors that make these technologies vary.

Although, I will like to state clearly that comparing these two technologies is just like comparing tomatoes to apples.

I mean Flutter is a framework while Kotlin is a general-purpose programming language. We will be looking at the Advantages and Disadvantages of both technologies in the rest of the article.

Advantages Of Flutter

Easy Implementation of design: The hot reload and hot restart feature gives flutter an edge in the development realm.

The ability for a developer to make changes and at the click of a button is a huge win because not only does it make it easier to implement UI’s, it makes development faster.

Open Source: Another favorite reason why people love flutter is the fact that it is free to use, edit, and even contribute to.

Flutter has its roots out in the open, a developer can go to the root and pick up a combination of building blocks (also referred to as widgets) and build anything they want to build.

And if there is a need to make any edits or modifications to the project, it is open to everyone but most especially the developers that make use of this framework and understand the need for every edit.

Easy to use: Flutter is easy to use. And the abundance of really interesting resources on the internet makes it a lot easier because anyone could pick it up irrespective of the fact that you could be a newbie.

Learning flutter is easy because you can learn to build beautiful UI even without a lot of deep background in tech.

The “Everything in flutter is a widget” phrase is an added advantage because flutter has a collection of widgets that can be combined or edited to build interactive UI’s.

A growing and supportive community: When we first start to learn new technology, it is advised that we find a group of people that are already working with it to draw inspiration from and reach out to them when we hit bottlenecks.

Flutter has a supportive community of people that are willing to welcome you and hold your hands as you set out to learn to build with flutter.

CrossPlatform Development: What could be more fun than using a single codebase to create for multiple platforms?

cross-platform-development

Imagine if we needed to build solutions that needed to be used across platforms? That would mean building individually first for Android, then iOS, desktop, then the web.

This will be hard if we need an MVP or a project to be done in a short time. So, in cases where we need to rush a product or we wish to assess if an idea is a good fit for scaling up, flutter saves the day.

Flutter makes it easy to build for multiple platforms and this is a huge win for mobile app developers and product owners.

However, these listed points are not the only reasons why flutter is amazing, you could read more about flutter here(add a link to a flutter article).

But we all agree that as much as there are Pro’s there are also Con’s and all these have to be considered too.

Downsides of using Flutter

Huge development files: There are true hacks to make apps lighter during production, but it still isn’t there yet. Flutter files are large and this is a huge challenge for developers.

Not widely accepted: In the past few years, flutter has gained traction and lots of attention, I’d say the flutter community has done well by organizing events that introduce newbies and enthusiasts to the flutter framework.

Although, there are lots of resources that teach flutter and dart. There is still a need for materials that will make flutter more adaptable.

Flutter and Dart are immature: To compare to some cool technologies that have been there for a while, flutter and dart are still newborns to the development ecosystem.

And this is seen clearly because it shows in the job market. Though the number of flutter job postings has increased over the past 3 years, Flutter still has a long way to go to be accepted.

Advantages of using Kotlin

advantages-of-using-kotlin

Flexibility: Kotlin provides us to work on a single module and then one can move along to other modules if everything works to their wishes.

The developers can scale up the applications without utilizing any virtual machine (VM).

More than two-thirds of developers mention that Kotlin has helped them improve efficiency and build make them more productive while writing code for their software.

SDK, not framework:  Unlike flutter, Kotlin is an SDK-Software Development kit. We could think of an SDK like a box of tools that software engineers/developers use to build solutions, these tools like libraries, essentially allow a more comfortable development.

SDK’s facilitate the creation of applications by having a compiler, debugger, and most times a functional software framework.

Simple Language: Kotin has its syntax quite similar to some programming languages like Java, scala, and swift. So, this makes it relatively simple to understand the language.

Downsides of using Kotlin

Expensive: The Kotlin SDK offers similar functionalities to that of a native development platform, the cost of building a mobile app using Kotlin is quiet on the high-side.

And the  effect of this can be traced to Kotlin’s price consequences. Making it an expensive programming language, especially when there is a need to build MVP’s and Prototypes.

Not Supportive of Native: Kotlin isn’t very supportive of native development. There are a few basic libraries and it is constantly improving and being worked on and Being a very new alternative, libraries and community support is still very limited and will need catching up.

Slower Compilation Speed: Generally, Java serves as good, but since the introduction of Kotlin, Kotlin currently knocks Java out when it comes to a rating in speedy compilation.

slower-compilation-speed

When compiling changes that are incremental, Kotlin does a decent job, but it’s still not as quick as Flutter.

Conclusion

Let it be known that there are no best choices when it comes to building solutions using technology. The choice of what tool to use for development is dependent on what the project is required to do.

It is also important to understand that these technologies, be it Flutter, Kotlin, or react-native, are only there to ease the problems with development and as such no one technology is perfect, they all have cons and pros.

Building for a more native product and an MVP? Use flutter because it is efficient and cost-effective too. Kotlin on the other hand takes a chunk of funding to pull off.

But if your factor is implementing an optimized and tailored user interface? Kotlin does the job pretty fine.

Finally, it is ok to ask these questions because it helps us to better understand what is best for specific projects and products.

And I hope this article has answered our major queries regarding the subject.

Thanks for reading!
Do well to reach out if you have any questions and suggestions.

Acodez is a renowned web development company and web application development company in India. We offer all kinds of web design and Mobile app development services to our clients using the latest technologies. We are also a leading digital marketing company providing SEO, SMM, SEM, Inbound marketing services, etc at affordable prices. For further information, please contact us.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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